Saturday, November 24, 2007

In-Fighting by Innuendo

They're trying something new in this political campaign--subtlety. The '08 candidates are using this unlikely weapon out of fear that voters may be turned off by the customary sledgehammer attack ads.

So reports Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post, citing commercials that ooze with good feelings about themselves but hide embedded barbs for their rivals.

A Romney ad features his super-wholesome family, hoping to remind viewers that Giuliani has been married three times with a second divorce that has left him alienated from his children.

"It's just essential," Romney intones, "to have a home where faith, where love of country, where determination, where all these features that are so much a part of American culture are taught to our kids."

Giuliani stresses his record as a mayor and prosecutor while telling voters they "are not going to find perfection" and, on the stump, suggests that candidates like Romney who don't admit mistakes in their lives may make some big ones in the Oval Office.

In his commercial, Obama says the country needs "a real honest conversation" about Social Security. "I don't want to put my finger out to the wind and see what the polls say," he reminds us, an oblique reference to Hillary You-Know-Who.

John McCain attacks pork-barrel spending by citing Clinton's effort to obtain $1 million for a Woodstock museum, noting that he missed the 1969 music festival because he "was tied up at the time" while the screen shows him as a wounded prisoner of war in Vietnam.

Political strategists seem to have concluded that blatant Karl Rove attack ads and Swift Boat commercials may backfire this time, but there is no guarantee that snide will be better. After being fed red meat for so long, voters may not lap up pablum.

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